Following the launch of Intel's latest Core X-series (Cascade Lake-X) of high-end desktop (HEDT) processors, MSI has come out with a trio of new X299 motherboard options for creators and professionals, including the Creator X299, X299 Pro, and X299 Pro 10G, the latter of which comes bundled with a 10G "Super LAN" card for ultra-fast wired connectivity.
MSI X299 Pro 10G And X299 Pro
The bundled LAN card (Aquantia AQC107 controller) is addition to the dual LAN ports that already come on the X299 Pro 10G. One of those is a regular 1GbE LAN port (Intel I219-V controller) and the other is a faster 2.5G LAN port (Realtek RTL8125-CG controller).
"Designed to satisfy any professional workflow, X299 PRO 10G motherboard features everything in demand, including thermal, network, data transfer and storage. MSI extended PWM heatsink and heat-pipe design ensure high-end processor to run at full speed with lower temperature," MSI says.
Users can install up to 256GB of DDR4-4200+ (overclocked) memory in the X299 Pro 10G's eight DIMM slots. For storage, it boasts half a dozen SATA 6Gbps ports and a pair of M.2 slots for those blazing fast NVMe solid state drives. Intel has not yet adopted PCIe 4.0 support, so users will not be able to take full advantage of the fastest NVMe SSDs on the market, the ones that push sequential read speeds in the neighborhood of 5,000MB/s. They will stick work in this motherboard, just the top end speed won't be quite as high.
MSI also bundles in an M.2 Xpander-Z card. This nets builders two additional M.2 slots. Other features include USB 3.2 Gen2 connectivity, an extended heatsink design, and reinforced PCIe slots.
The regular X299 Pro (non-10 version) offers the same overall design, but ditches the 10G and M.2 add-in cards. Otherwise, the features are the same, including dual onboard LAN connectors.
MSI Creator X299
MSI says its Creator X299 is "inspired by the craft of crystal," which is a fancy way of describing the RGB implementation on this board.
"Embedded in the heatsinks with billions of color effects, the crystal design dress up with RGB to present the reflection under sunshine or light. With sharp edges and cuts for heatsinks and color gradation of crystal design, the perfect combination enhances the elegance, making the motherboard as a work of art," MSI says.
Assuming buyers are not intending to plop this "work of art" on the wall but inside a PC, they will be able to build a high end rig around it. Like the Pro models, the Creator X299 sports eight DIMM slots, with support for 256GB of DDR4-4266+ (OC) memory.
On the storage front, there are eight SATA 6Gbps ports and three M.2 slots. Users will also find similar connectivity options on this one compared to the Pro boards, including a pair of LAN ports (1GbE and 2.5G).
Other features include an enlarged heatsink, triple 8-pin PCIe power connectors, and a 12 phase power design.
MSI did not say when these new motherboards will be available to purchase or how much they will cost.